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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com Web Browsers
MSNBC offers many videos on their site, but hide them behind code that restricts their viewing to users of Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Media Player 10, both of which are Windows only. Thanks to Flip4Mac, Flip4Mac forum member andgarden, and especially to a Javascript guru that goes by the name of Void, Mac users can now watch these videos in Safari or Firefox. Create a new blank bookmark entry, and name it MSNBC video fix (or whatever you like). For the URL portion of the bookmark, copy and paste the following code:

javascript:(function(){var%20as%20=%20document.getElementsByTagName('a');for%20(var%20i%20=%200;i%20%3C%20as.length;%20i++)%20{if%20(as[i].href.substring(0,19)=='javascript:msnvDwd(')%20{var%20b%20=%20as[i].href;var%20temp%20=%20new%20Array();temp%20=%20b.split(%22'%22);as[i].href='http://msnbc.msn.com/default.cdnx/id/'+temp[15]+'/displaymode/1157';}}})();

Now whenever you're surfing MSNBC.com and see a link to a video that you'd like to watch, click or choose the bookmarklet you created above. The video URL(s) will then point directly to a file or files that Flip4Mac can play.

[robg adds: First, sorry for the use of the horizontal scrolling box, but it seemed the best way to make sure the code was presented properly. The easiest way to copy and paste it is to triple-click within the box, then press Command-C. Second, I was only able to make this work in Safari, not Camino or Firefox -- note that this may be an issue on my end. Finally, to actually use the bookmarklet, just load the page containing the videos, click the bookmarklet, then click the video you're interested in watching.]
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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com | 26 comments | Create New Account
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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: Chas on Aug 21, '06 08:30:27AM

It works! However, I have some worries about this sort of workaround. MSNBC (the MS stands for Microsoft) has deliberately made their videos incompatible with MacOS X. Creating methods for users to work around this incompatibility allows MSNBC a legitimate excuse to continue this discriminatory practice, they can claim their videos ARE compatible and it is up to the user to fix it. Obviously MSNBC could change their site to allow Macs to work, the only reason to exclude Macs is to promote the use of MS Windows systems, and to give one more (bogus) reason why people should avoid MacOS X.



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: mpress25 on Aug 23, '06 04:45:15AM

I agree wholeheartedly -- unfortunately there are times for research I need to see content that is Mac-blocked so this solution is great!

Being a Newsweek subscriber and then finding out they were part of the MS network which takes part in these discriminatory practices, I let my subscription run out and sent them a note as to why.

Perhaps there needs to be another filing against Microsoft for what is truly an illegal practice.



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: bcamp1973 on Aug 21, '06 10:26:24AM

I couldn't agree more. They don't support the mac, so i don't support them. There are other news sites out there that don't block mac users (CNN for example) and whatdyaknow!?! ...they have the same news...



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: Hamo on Aug 21, '06 10:54:22AM

Doesn't seem to work for me...
I still the page that says I need to install WMP etc...

MacOS X 10.3.9
Safari 1.3.2
Flip4Mac 2.1.0.33

It seems like I am constantly running into web services that are not Mac compatible. I am tired of it. I am in the process of planning my switch to Windows...



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: Benton on Aug 21, '06 11:28:03AM

My experience is identical to Hamo's with same specifications. Still no go.



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: robg on Aug 21, '06 11:49:45AM

You might need 10.4...

-rob.



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: wjshack on Aug 21, '06 10:56:05AM

Works fine for me in Safari, but if anybody gets it to work in Firefox, please post the trick!



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: harveyl on Aug 21, '06 11:14:57AM

This hint didn't work for me at first. I had the "Launch Quicktime Player" box checked in the Flip4Mac WMV Plug-In preference (to launch movies in a Quicktime Player instead of the browser plug-in.)

I go the message that the URL 1157 was invalid.

When I unchecked the box, quit and restarted Safari, and loaded the MSNMC page, the videos played, albeit in the browser!



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: jakecigar on Aug 21, '06 01:35:57PM
What a simple kludge to get around MSNBC's arrogance! I wanted to look at the code, so I decoded the string into javascript: (function(){ var as = document.getElementsByTagName('a'); for (var i = 0;i Not the best written code, but it sure gets the job done! THANKS!

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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: jakecigar on Aug 21, '06 01:37:23PM

Wow that post really got mangled!

Sorry!



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Yahoo Music Videos?
Authored by: PopMcGee on Aug 21, '06 04:47:16PM

Cool, could we also have a similar bookmarklet to access yahoo music videos and yahoo radio? Pretty please?



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New browser bookmarklet not working for me
Authored by: osxfan57 on Aug 21, '06 08:44:52PM

Doesn't work for me at all. Am I missing a step? I copied the text into the URL for a new bookmark that I made. I named it "MSNBC Videos." I then go to the msnbc.com page and select Video on the far left bar. On the videos page, I select the new bookmark, nothing happens. So I select a video directly instead, and get an error message that "This product requires Microsoft© Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft© Media Player 10, and Macromedia Flash 6." I click the new bookmark, still no videos.
What exactly is supposed to happen? What am I doing wrong? I've got the latest OS X (10.4.7) and Safari (2.0.4) and have the latest Flip4Mac installed.
Thanks.

---
G5 2.5GHz 1.5Gb RAM, OS 10.3.7



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New browser bookmarklet not working for me
Authored by: harveyl on Aug 21, '06 09:52:16PM

After going to the video page and selecting the javascript book mark click on a video link.

You need to click on the javascript link before each video link.

I get a blank screen with controls at the bottom and then the videos start.

(Make sure the Flip4Mac preference box for "Plug-In/Launch Quicktime Player" is NOT checked.)



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For people having problems...
Authored by: MacFiend on Aug 21, '06 09:57:02PM
...here's a page I whipped up so all you have do is drag the link to your bookmarks bar:

http://macfiend.corruptspace.com/msnbc_fix.html

Sadly, after further testing, it seems this doesn't work in Firefox. Sorry for getting your hopes up FF users. Although the links are rewritten properly, Firefox doesn't seem to be able to play "raw" WMV streams (application/x-mplayer2), even though it is clear that Firefox sees the file by reporting the correct file type in the window title. If it's any consolation, Firefox in Windows has the exact same behavior with this bookmarklet.

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For people having problems...
Authored by: sparklyballs on Aug 22, '06 03:09:03AM

i tried this and works fine, but i am in the uk and msn.co.uk has videos as well but i cannot play them in safari i get the same message about media player needing to be installed. does anybody have a similair type of workaround for us guys on the other side of the pond.



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It works for me, but
Authored by: apikoros on Aug 22, '06 06:17:13AM

not well. The sound is way out of sync with the video (on my 20" Intel iMac w/2GB RAM, OS 10.4.7). Anyone else experiencing this? Any suggestions for a fix?



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It works for me, but
Authored by: Swift on Aug 22, '06 11:10:50AM

That depends on the stream, which depends on how many people are using it, how many hops it has to take, etc. Most of it's worked okay for me.

It would be nice to be able to have a smaller window. That size makes a lot of videos look very blocky.

---
------------------------
Screenplays for Royalty
since 1749



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It works for me, but
Authored by: andgarden on Sep 06, '06 03:16:13PM

Option click the file to download it, and give it a .ASX extension. It will then open in QuickTime Player.



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Why do they go out of their way to exclude Macs?
Authored by: Antoniola on Aug 22, '06 05:40:12PM

Flip4Mac worked perfectly with your code thingy. What a bunch of nonsense these site developers go through. They had to take extra steps to make it so Mac users couldn't view the content. Time not well spent.



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Why do they go out of their way to exclude Macs?
Authored by: RideMan on Aug 25, '06 07:44:13AM

This is what I don't understand. They bury the video file under a ton of obfuscated Javascript, then run another script that sniffs the browser and when they see an ID string they don't like or don't specifically support, shoot you off to an error page. I've got ways of playing almost any kind of media file out there, including a dozen types that the average web developer has never heard of. What ever happened to the Rule of the Web: Send me the file, and let *me* decide whether I can play it or not. You as a web site have no way of knowing what I can and can't handle.

Of course, this means that any time I send anybody to view a video on such a page, I'm going to link directly to the video file, not to the containing page......



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: osxfan57 on Aug 22, '06 09:01:41PM

I try this and get only a "URL is not valid" error. What is up with this??

---
G5 2.5GHz 1.5Gb RAM, OS 10.4.7



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: llange on Aug 23, '06 05:52:24AM
Hello you should point out :
1) That once the page containing the links to the videos is loaded click the bookmark ;
2) Then click the links to the videos (that has been replaced by the direct link) ;
And to avoid copy, create, paste simply drag and drop this in your bookmarks bar :
MSNBC Hack

Thanks for the tip !
Ludo, http://apple.lu

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Can anyone help with a more challenging video site?
Authored by: astringer on Sep 02, '06 05:02:10PM
More4 has a lot of great coverage of tech issues, but their video reports will not play on a Mac. Does anybody have any ideas? Here's a sample page:

http://www.channel4.com/more4/news/news-opinion-feature.jsp?id=141

The MSNBC hack works great on my Mac. But replacing the MSNBC URL in the javascript with the More 4 URL and using the new hack with More4 video links in exactly the same sequence still results in a white screen with no playback.

Switching user-agent in the Safari Debug Menu to Win IE6 does nothing, either. Does anybody have any ideas on how to modify the javascript code for use with More4?

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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: andgarden on Sep 06, '06 02:36:26PM
I'm glad that people were able to put this to use. It took lots of trial and error to figure out what MSNBC was doing with its videos.

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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: jhersco on Dec 09, '06 03:38:36PM

It seems that MSNBC has fixed their videos to work with Safari. As of today, Dec. 9, I can watch MSNBC videos in Safari just be clicking on the links. I don't know how long they have worked now, but I'm glad they do.



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A browser bookmarklet to view videos on msnbc.com
Authored by: pamon on Jul 31, '07 01:11:54PM

Anybody knows a way to get this work on cnbc.com



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